U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) announces Major League Baseball (MLB) player and Chatham native, Jayson Werth, will attend the State of the Union (SOTU) address as his guest on Tuesday night. Werth, who most recently played for the Washington Nationals, owns an organic farm in Macoupin County. Werth has become an advocate for agriculture and a supporter of victims of the congressional baseball shooting last June. Davis and Werth met earlier this month where they discussed the Farm Bill and the Congressional Baseball Game.
Davis made the announcement in Sunday's State Journal-Register (SJR). Below is an excerpt from his guest editorial titled, 'Baseball, Bipartisanship, and Supporting Rural America'. Read the entire guest editorial online here.
Baseball, Bipartisanship, and Supporting Rural America
By U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13)
"…During our meeting, we not only discussed policy, but baseball definitely came up a time or two. As the catcher for the Congressional Baseball Game, where Republicans and Democrats play for charity, I had to ask for a few pointers on catching pop-ups. In all seriousness, the Washington Nationals helped ensure we were able to play last year's Congressional Baseball Game a day after a man fired 70 rounds at us during practice and injured several at the field.
"The Nationals graciously allowed us to use some of their equipment, including my catcher's gear that was in police custody. They helped us show the nation that our government is stronger than one deranged man and that we can have political disagreements without the hate and vitriol. Democrats and Republicans came together to play the 56th Congressional Baseball Game and raise a record $1.5 million for charity.
"After the shooting, Jayson took the time to visit one of the victims shot on the field that morning in the hospital. He's not only used his fame and talent to help us heal, he has become a voice for agriculture and rural America. This is an area I hope to hear a lot about on Tuesday.
"This month, President Trump became the first sitting president in 26 years to address the American Farm Bureau. This sent a strong signal not just to our farmers, but every person living in rural America that they are once again a national priority. I serve on the agriculture and transportation committees and have fought for policies critical to this rural district. Now, we have a partner in the White House willing to address many of these same issues.
"Americans' optimism in the job market is the highest it's been in 17 years and small business optimism is the highest it's been since 1983. For the first time since 2014, the economy had two consecutive quarters of three percent or more GPD growth. It's not a coincidence that this comes after a year of slashing government overregulation and passage of the first major tax reform in 31 years. While our economy is on rise, we still have work to do to ensure Americans, especially in our rural areas, aren't just able to pay their bills, but live a life better than their parents before them.
"A task force, established by President Trump last year to identify changes to improve the quality of life in rural America, found more than 100 legislative and regulatory actions we can take to support rural areas. The report includes ways to increase broadband access for schools and homes in rural areas, bring back good-paying manufacturing jobs to our small towns, and improve workforce training opportunities to fill the jobs being created by this 21st Century economy.
"Republicans alone cannot revitalize rural America. We will need help from our friends on the other side of the aisle, especially in the Senate where 60 votes are needed to advance legislation…"
Read the entire guest editorial here.